Skip to content

Children's Health

Font Size

Campylobacteriosis - Topic Overview

What is campylobacteriosis?

Campylobacteriosis is food poisoning caused by the campylobacter bacterium. It is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in the United States, affecting more than 2.4 million people every year.1

Campylobacteriosis occurs much more often in the summer months than in the winter months. Infants, young adults, and males are most likely to get the condition.

Recommended Related to Children

One Town Gets Children to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

By Sari HarrarWant your kids to eat healthy, exercise, and enjoy it? Here's how parents in Somerville, MA, turned the kid-obesity epidemic around. Five-year-old Ben Tull pulled a big, ripe apple out of his Bob the Builder backpack one afternoon three years ago — and launched a health revolution at home. "The school cafeteria had given kids — even kindergartners — whole fruit at lunch, and Ben was so excited he brought his home to share with his brother, his dad, and me. He called it 'The Family...

Read the One Town Gets Children to Live a Healthy Lifestyle article > >

What causes campylobacteriosis?

Campylobacteriosis is usually caused by handling poultry (such as chicken or turkey) that is contaminated with the campylobacter bacterium and is raw or undercooked. For example, you can be infected by cutting poultry meat on a cutting board and then using the unwashed cutting board or utensil to prepare vegetables or other raw or lightly cooked foods. Drinking contaminated milk or water from contaminated lakes or streams can also result in infection.

Campylobacteriosis usually is not spread from person to person. But this can happen if you have the condition and do not properly wash your hands. Some people have become infected through contact with the infected stool of a dog or cat.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of campylobacteriosis include diarrhea, cramping, stomach pain, and fever within 2 to 5 days after exposure to the bacteria. Your diarrhea may be bloody, and you may feel sick to your stomach and vomit. The illness usually lasts 1 week. Some people don't have any symptoms at all. In people with impaired immune systems, campylobacteriosis can be life-threatening.

How is campylobacteriosis diagnosed?

Your doctor will do a medical history and a physical exam and ask you questions about your symptoms, foods you have recently eaten, and your work and home environments. A stool culture can confirm the diagnosis.

How is it treated?

You treat campylobacteriosis by managing any complications until it passes. Dehydration caused by diarrhea and vomiting is the most common complication. Do not use medicines, including antibiotics and other treatments, unless your doctor recommends them. Most people recover completely within a week after symptoms begin, although sometimes recovery can take up to 10 days.

To prevent dehydration, take frequent sips of a rehydration drink (such as Pedialyte). Try to drink a cup of water or rehydration drink for each large, loose stool you have. Soda and fruit juices have too much sugar and not enough of the important electrolytes that are lost during diarrhea, and they should not be used to rehydrate.

    1|2
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    child with red rash on cheeks
    What’s that rash?
    plate of fruit and veggies
    How healthy is your child’s diet?
     
    smiling baby
    Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
    Middle school band practice
    Understanding your child’s changing body.
     

    worried kid
    fitArticle
    boy on father's shoulder
    Article
     
    Child with red rash on cheeks
    Slideshow
    girl thinking
    Article
     

    Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    babyapp
    New
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow
     
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
    Syringes and graph illustration
    Tool